OLWG · writing

OLWG# 230- Another Unfinished Story and the Three That I Fucked-up Accidentally (tacked on at the end)

An unfinished story. This one, written during a race against the clock (25 minutes) for OLWG# 230



Ferris found himself sitting at a table for two in the Polo Bar downtown. He was beginning to worry. He had swiped right when he saw Hester’s photo and profile on the dating app. They had exchanged messages through the app (maintain your privacy – never surrender your email address or your cell phone number) and both had agreed to meet here. Get to know one another. See if they wanted to take it any further.

Tonight

Six-thirty

Ferris had arrived early (about twenty after six). Since that time he had checked his watch at least 372 times. It now read six-thirty-four.

What if she had stood him up?

She had probably peeked through the window, spotted him and changed her mind? The photo he had used on the app looked a little like him, but a buff him, not the real him.

Maybe she was lost?

Had she been mugged walking across the park?

Murdered on the subway?

So many things could have gone wrong, and he was beginning to gnaw on his thumbnail when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He started and looked around. It was Hester, no doubt, she looked just like her photograph. She was beautiful, and she smiled.

“Ferris?” her voice was musical, her smile was bright, and her eyes sparkled.

“Yea, yes, uh huh, I’m Ferris,” he stammered as he tried to stand.

“I’m Hester,” she said with a giggle.

Ferris stumbled, a little, as he stood to hurry around the table and pull out her chair – ever the gentleman.

Hester nodded and took her seat. Ferris went back around to his seat. The two sized each other up for a moment before Hester took the lead.

“You look a little different from your picture,” she started.

“Uhm, sorry,” Ferris interjected before she could continue, “that photo was a couple of months old. I’ve grown a bit. You look exactly like your photo.”

“Do you think so? I’ve heard that the camera always adds a few pounds. I don’t know?”

“I’m having a Pepsi,” Ferris said. “Would you like something to drink? Appetizers?”

At that exact moment the waiter appeared at their table. His pencil hovered above his order pad and he stared at Hester, “Oui moiselle?”

“Je voudrais une bouteille de l’eau mineral. Non-gazeuse, s’il vous plait.”

The waiter put his pad into the pocket on his black apron. Without saying a word, he spun on his heel and disappeared back to wherever it was that he had come from.

Meanwhile, Ferris knew immediately that he was in love. He wanted to grab Hester by the hand. He wanted to kiss her hand, kiss her arm over and over, all the way up to her neck. Like that guy on that TV show, Don Addams or Gomez Addams with his wife Morticia. That was a good show, but he refrained from kissing her.

“You speak French, Hester?”

“Yes, yes, I do. I speak: well, English, of course, but also French, Leonese, and Klingon. That’s about it. What do you do, Ferris?”

Ferris worked nights, cleaning office buildings in the Financial District. “I work on Wall Street,” he said. “What about you?”

Hester would go to work at about 2:00 in the morning. She made donuts at Mojo’s, on Fifth Street. “I’m a pastry chef,” she answered.

“Cool, but with your language abilities, shouldn’t you be working as a translator? Maybe at the UN or somewhere like that?”

“I suppose I could do that, but I enjoy the creativity that comes with my current job.”

Whoops – Time’s up! Step away from the keyboard




This week’s prompts were:

  1. cotton to
  2. letters from strangers
  3. patiently lying

Here are the three I accidentally deleted…Sorry

Bill Miller went into his office that morning, as he did every other day. Just like there had been yesterday, there were dozens of tubs stacked against the wall by the office door. Each tub contained hundreds of letters and he intended to open every one of them. There were thousands of them. They were from members of his flock and most all of them contained cash donations. They were small donations, for the most part. There would be Five dollars here, Ten dollars there, but always folding money. Not always dollars either, he received donations from all over the world. He accepted blue money, red money, brown money; the currency mattered not. It was all spendable.

It was easy to fleece strangers who believed everything he said.

##

I’m sorry Professor; I just can’t cotton to what you’re saying. I think you have it all wrong. The world doesn’t work that way, people don’t act that way. It’s not that easy, it’s not that predictable, and it’s not always black and white, not binary.

But it is, don’t you see? We are creatures of habit. We are doomed to repeat our failures, our debacles, and our deeds. That’s the way we’re programmed. History has proven this time and time again.

##

Edna sighed and tried again, “No honey, that’s not where babies come from. Babies come from the garden. Your father and I found you when we turned over the leaves of the tomato vine. I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

writing

Awakening

Written for: the fun of it


Chayton Tokula left Stillwell, bound for California almost six months ago. He hadn’t been in a hurry. A man could always find work. On this trip, he earned travelling money by sweeping up at Greyhound stations, cooking in roadside coffee shops, or pumping gas at Texaco stations. A butcher by trade, he’d taken more than one job at a small meat processing outfit. He did whatever he had to, to earn a bit of cash, something he could eat off of, and help him make it a few miles further down the road.

The land changed as he hitched and hiked west, the differences more apparent and rapid as he got nearer to the coast. He had come a long way. There were still mountains; he liked mountains. The grasses were greener, the trees more plentiful. The air smelled different.

One morning, north of Salinas, Chayton stood at the edge of an empty artichoke field and puzzled as he breathed in the salt air. He had never smelled anything like this in his life. He inhaled deeply and smiled. Tomorrow, he would look for work. Today was for smelling, soaking it all in.    

 





OLWG · writing

OLWG# 229- Father Malachi

Written for OLWG# 229



These days, when Father Malachi prayed, it was only because it was a necessary part of the ritual. He no longer believed in the power of prayer, but he would never admit it. Long ago, he had determined that God didn’t listen, or maybe she couldn’t listen; he didn’t know which.

He still believed though. How could he not?

How could he not believe when he looked up at the evening sky. When he absorbed the colours of the breaking dawn or watched the myriad ways that light can filter through heavy grey clouds at midday?




This week’s prompts were:

  1. almost never prayed
  2. she can’t hear you anymore
  3. notice the light

Uncategorized

Daddy’s Girl

Roberta lay awake in her room listening to the sounds of the TV, downstairs where her parents watched late-night talk shows. At 11:00, she heard Johnny and Ed saying good night. Then her parents turned off the television. Her dad checked the locks on the doors as her mother trudged to the master bedroom that overlooked the back garden at the rear of the second floor. She feigned sleep when her mom looked in on her and listened through the thin walls. Mom went into the bathroom, peed, flushed the toilet and washed her hands. It wasn’t long after that when she heard her father flick off the porch light and spring up the stairs to repeat the same bathroom routine as his wife.

She listened to her parents argue for a while, but neither of them must have been invested in the fight, it drifted off pretty fast. Roberta listened with her eyes open as the night settled on the house like a stone . Now was where her plan got tricky. There was no room for mistakes. After an interminable amount of time, she crawled from the bed and slowly opened the door to the hallway. Staying close to the wall, she crept to her parents’ door and put her ear against it. There was no light coming from beneath the door, a good sign. She could hear her mother snoring faintly. There was no noise from her father. It was now or never.

Back in her bedroom, Roberta pulled on her jeans and an old peasant blouse that had belonged to her mother. She put on her black wool pea coat and pulled a ball cap low over her eyes. She rummaged under the bed and pulled out her old backpack. It was a pink one with a Nike swoosh. She stuck her hand inside and made sure it was empty. Then she crept all the way downstairs to her father’s workbench in the basement. The work light came on when she turned the switch. In its glow, she knelt to operate the Master Lock on the old grey school locker where dad kept his girlie magazines. She pulled out the stack of dog-eared pornography and set it on the concrete floor. Reaching deep into the locker, she felt what she was looking for. So she began pulling out the pipe bombs that her father had been assembling for the last few weeks. She placed them in her pink backpack. There were fifteen of them. Each was about six inches long and heavier than she had expected.

Another look in the locker revealed a thick envelope stuffed full of hundred-dollar bills. There was also a plastic sandwich bag, filled with marijuana. There were three or four already rolled joints in the bag and a pack of rolling papers. Roberta had seen people roll cigarettes before. Her grandma did it all the time, but Roberta had never done it herself. Oh well, she could learn. She stuffed the cash and the dope into the pockets of her coat, climbed back up the stairs and out the front door, into the night.

It was a four-mile walk to the Starbucks on Central, but Roberta was in a hurry and made it in about forty-five minutes. It wasn’t crowded. She put her backpack on a chair near the front door and meandered over to the counter to order coffee in a paper cup. Keeping the bill of her cap low and looking down as much as possible, Roberta ordered a single espresso and avoided small talk with the barista.

The espresso was delicious, and she gulped about half of it down before standing and leaving through the front door. She didn’t think anyone had seen her go. Moving fast but careful not to draw attention to herself, she hurried away from the coffee shop. It was another three miles to the Greyhound terminal. Chubby’s all-night diner was about half the way there. There was still a phone booth outside Chubby’s, where she called the cops to report a bomb in the Starbucks.

There was a bus getting ready to leave for Eugene when Roberta breezed through the doors of the station. She bought a ticket from the old man at the counter. He wore plastic-framed glasses low on his nose, a green visor on his head and had a non-filter cigarette tucked behind his ear. He barely looked up at her. She showed her ticket to the driver, who punched a hole in it before making her way to the back of the bus. She slumped low and made herself small in a window seat. She got off the bus in Roseburg where she pulled her hair back into a high, tight ponytail and bought another ticket, heading back south.

It took almost a full day to get to Los Angeles from Roseburg.

Uncategorized

Pinot Noir

Dinner had been a beer-marinated Tri-tip With Blue Cheese, Wild Mushrooms, Onions, and freshly baked sourdough bread, heavily buttered.
Lynette served it all with an American Pinot Noir from Sonoma. She had Beignets & Berries served as dessert and had even piped a berry whipped cream into the Beignets. He could tell that she had put a lot of thought into the meal. He almost regretted his plan to kill her. First, though, he wanted to talk more, maybe a coffee. He thought espresso would finish the meal perfectly.
Lynette left for the kitchen to make coffees, and when she came back to the table with two demitasse cups of thick brew, he was beginning to look tired. She mentioned it.
“Yeah,” he slurred, “I’m not sure why. The meal was fantastic. You’re a great cook, Lynette.”
“Listen to me. I know why you are feeling tired. It’s because I put Tetradotoxin in that fine California wine. Did you enjoy it?”
His head nodded and sagged. He began to drool, just a bit. Looking even weaker; his head dropped more as he tried to pull his 9mm from its tooled leather shoulder holster. Lynette leaned over the table and helped him retrieve the gun, but she held on to it. He stared at her with questioning eyes as she released the clip and ejected the round that he had chambered.
“Why Lynette?” he mumbled.
“Why?” she parroted back at him, “Why? Because it would have been messy to shoot you and even worse if I had used a knife. I’ve cleaned up enough of your messes. I don’t want to do that anymore.” She watched his head sink and slowly rest on the table. She finished her coffee before reaching over and taking his cup too. She sipped and smiled to herself. She watched as he died, his breathing becoming more and more irregular until it finally ceased altogether.

Carrot Ranch · writing

Angel on the Bridge

I wrote this for the May 30th Flash Fiction Challenge



I met Lavinia in early July
at The Angel on the Bridge
in Henley,
where I came to see the regatta.

I was smitten

I sought to impress
To ply her with food
Strawberries, cream, and a sprig of mint

She turned up her nose

I strove to impress
by quoting the Bard,
Demetrius in Titus Andronicus,
“She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved”

She laughed as I obviously knew not the story

I hoped to impress with my wealth
Alas, I had no wealth, but
She sat with me on the riverbank
She took my hand
She smiled


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Titanic, The Maiden Voyage

I wrote this for the May 23rd Flash Fiction Challenge



Birdie stood at the top deck railing smiling and waving; holding her hat in the breeze. Edward stood stoically nearby, as he imagined a new husband should do.

While the crew cast off lines and got underway Birdie turned to Edward, “I’m terrified. What if the weather takes a turn and the ship flounders?”

“Rest assured, darling,” he replied, “We’re aboard the pride of the White Star Line, she’s unsinkable.” They retired to their stateroom, where Birdie remained, panicked, for the duration of the voyage.”

Eight days later the newlyweds disembarked in New York and began their life together.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade. What does the lack mean to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Planning a Poem

I wrote this for the May 16th Flash Fiction Challenge



The hour is early – predawn.

The clouds – vanished,

the storm – over,

the moon – full.

I shiver by the back window, listening to some nameless chanteuse croon and confess from the confines of the FM dial.

Warming my hands on a cup of tea, I watch the last two leafs in the tree.

They dance in the moonlight. Embracing, spinning, reaching – enjoying one another.

Caressing like lovers until one falls away; surrendering to the pressure of the wind and the weight of the clinging raindrops.

The fallen leaf touches down. I pore over archaic words and phrases, planning a poem.


The prompt:  In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

More Strength Than Meets the Eye

I wrote this for the May 2nd Flash Fiction Challenge



It is born from bitter winter cold
Not a nip or chill, but a biting, vicious cold
A cold that comes with long, nights, and
Northern lights
It has nothing to do with gain
It’s about diving into the water
Simply for the sake of it
It’s about laughing in the face of tragedy
It’s about mocking and defeating whatever adversity is thrown your way
Always getting up
Something akin to, yet more than,
Dogged perseverance
Intensity that thrives in the long days of summer

You are stronger than any one of us, or even you, could ever imagine


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sisu. It’s a Finnish concept of enduring strength, the ability to consistently overcome. Think long-term. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Exhausted

I wrote this for the April 25th Flash Fiction Challenge



“Raul, please rest. You can’t help us if you’re dead.”

“I’m sorry, Alondra. I have to finish before the rains come.”

She shook her head and returned to the house, where she made a big jar of Sandia Agua Fresca. Then she made Pambazos and wrapped them in a napkin, to keep him going. He was bleary-eyed when she returned with the food.

“Raul, you need to rest.” She took his hand and led him to the cool shade of a large Alamo tree. They ate. They made love in the dappled sunshine. Afterwards, she watched him sleep, exhausted.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!